Calorie counts help curb diners’ appetites for less healthy options, but not by much.
The good news: Menu labels including calorie information were shown to reduce the amount people ate. Now, for the bad news: Calorie counts on restaurant menus would, on average, cause a consumer to lose just 1 pound over the span of 3 years, according to a new working paper distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research organization in Cambridge, Mass.
Calorie counting only reduced the calorie intake by 44.9 calories per meal, or just 3%. What’s more, while diners consumed fewer calories during the appetizer and entrée courses when they had calorie counts, there was no statistically significant difference in the calories consumed with drinks or dessert.